This is our first selected garden in this years Bishop Auckland and Coundon in Bloom garden competition, which we are running in partnership with Bishop Press.  We choose this wonderful Zen inspired garden because we thought it was a beautiful place for meditation, breathing, awareness, recognising what truly matters in life – mindfulness for the soul.

This is what inspired the owner of this wonderful garden.

“My garden is important to me for many reasons, but the most important is that it brings me close to my father. I was lucky to share a close and loving relationship with this wonderful man. I spent many hours with him in his allotment where he taught me how to grow vegetables. I once asked him why there were more weeds in his allotment than in others and he said it was because of the shape! He was so embarrassed when I repeated this to another gardener! When I am in my garden planting and tending to the vegetables, I talk to my dad. And somehow I know he is listening. I enjoy the challenge to see what I am able to grow successfully. I have beetroot, cabbage, leeks, onions, courgettes, pumpkin, chillies and even have potatoes, spinach, and kale growing in the borders! I have given up on broccoli and sprouts!


I love trees and have many varieties. I have fruit trees, eucalyptus, firs, acers, and many others.


I love the twisted willow which were in the Church for my daughter’s wedding, and the monkey puzzle she wanted when she was seven and is now thriving with a sleeping dragon beneath it!


I grow fruit, strawberries, raspberries, and red currants.
Colour is important to me so I have many flowers and shrubs. Even weeds are left if they are colourful or interesting! I marvel at the way a weed can survive in drought and with little soil but yet an expensive flower with all the care and feeding will die on me!

I love the animals the garden attracts, hedgehogs, birds of many varieties, a Fox, squirrels and the neighbour’s cats! And of course my frogs and fish all living happily together in the pond. Watching the tadpoles change is another wonder. Even the slugs are interesting – can’t believe the journeys they make – right to the top of the pergola!


I am rather proud of my herb bed which has three types of mint, sage, thyme, dill, fennel, bay, rosemary, basil, coriander, garlic, angelica, lovage and chives.I grow many kinds of salad leaves and tumbling toms in hanging baskets.




Now the design. A garden can be a spiritual place and I was inspired by trips to Sri Lanka and visits to Buddhist temples. Buddhism is a philosophy I embrace and peace and tranquility can be found in the temples and so I tried to create my own. The pergola leads you to the pond and running water, then on to the Buddha. The pictures were copied from one of the famous temples and were painted by my daughter’s friend. Angels too have a place in my garden, along with the odd fairy, elephants and some quite ugly creatures which I actually love! They make me smile.


Unfortunately the dovecote is now empty as a sparrow hawk took a liking to my doves so I now have porcelain ones looking out of the cote!


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